You wait 30 years for an all Asian ranking event final and three come along at once.

After Ding Junhui v Xiao Guodong in Shanghai and Ding v Aditya Mehta in Delhi we now have Ding v Marco Fu in Chengdu tomorrow.

They each had tough International Championship semi-finals, which themselves felt like finals due to their two session format.

Fu battled past Joe Perry 9-8; Ding made a superb clearance to deny Graeme Dott a deciding frame finish.

Ding is thus poised to become the first player to win three successive ranking titles since Stephen Hendry in 1993 (not 1990 as I've been saying all week, though this was the last time it happened in the same season).

Ding has matured into a great all round player, reliant in all departments: potting, break building, safety and big match temperament. His patience, focus and discipline is rock solid.

Neil Robertson became a similar sort of player a few years ago and has never looked back.

But Fu – as Robertson found out in this season’s Australian Open final – is no stranger to spoiling the party.

This Hong Kong potter is always hard to read due to his ability to control his emotions and has scored really heavily this week, although not so heavily against Perry.

These two have played in a final, at the 2011 Masters, which Ding won 10-4. He starts favourite again. His Shanghai win lifted the pressure he has felt playing in China and, though it may be premature to say this, seems to have transformed him completely.

Not only is he enjoying his snooker at the moment but he is prepared to play in whatever way is required and give every frame the same commitment and concentration.

This makes him a danger for any title. Fu will need to start well but has more than enough in his armoury to make the final a close and exciting climax to the week in Chengdu.


kildare cueman said...

The Asian army drives on. I've been impressed by Dings ability to raise him game when the chips are down. That was some clearance to get over the line against Dott.

I'd question the wisdom of playing the semis on consecutive days. It must be a disadvantage to Ding having a grueller on thje eve of the final.

They're two players I wouldn't normally bother with but the fhere will be a lot of pressure on the top two Chinese playing each other in Chinas' biggest tournament. Hope its close.

JIMO96 said...

Great to see a player at the top of his game, as Ding is, and seeing off allcomers. On this form, he could not just top the new cash ranking list in May, but top it with £1,000,000 plus.

I agree about the semis on separate days...why not hold them simultaneously? This always annoyed me about the UK as well. If the semis are played on the same day, then a good 3 or 4 session final could be played.

Speaking of multi session snooker, both semis were so enjoyable, it must have got snooker fans pining for another "2-session" ranking event. I know I am! I'd love a promoter or sponsor to come along who actually cares about snooker and drama more than short attention span ticket buyers, and resurrects the old UK format.

Also fantastic to see not just new faces in finals, but new faces scattered about the latter stages of the draws in ranking events. I knew it wouldn't be long before the rankings showed more fluidity under the untiered system, and it's a big welcome to the top 32 for Liang, Xiao and (very soon) White, Woollaston & Gilbert. This would have took so much longer under the dated and unfair levels of protection previously in place, so well done WSA for introducing flat draws. This pattern will be enhanced further when cash earnings fall into place.